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Trip details

8 Day Litang Horse Riding Festival

8 Day Litang Horse Riding Festival

Date: July to August

Price: Upon Request

Trip Focus: Culture+Festival

Status: Open to Booking

Route: Chengdu-Kangding-Xinduqiao–Litang–Kangding-Hailuogou-Yanan-Chengdu-Chengdu

Trip Code: C006


What is Litang Horse Racing Festival?
Since August 1st, 2016, the Litang international horse racing festival has been restarted.

In the 1960's, the local government fixed the dates for the festival as August 1 to 7. During the festival, Tibetans come from all over Kham, Amdo and central Tibet. Festival attendants are typically dressed in ornate cultural dress and the grasslands are dotted with colorful tents as people prepare for seven days of festivities.
It is associated with the ancient Zubirishao festival, the most important festival of the grasslands of praying around the mountain, on the Tibetan calendar. By late July and early August when the wildflowers and grasses are at their peak season, a few days of horse racing and festival are held to show devotion to the sacred mountain and celebrate the harvest.

And now every year Litang Horse Racing Festival attracts many tourists at home and abroad (Usually from 30th July to 2nd August). During the horse racing festival, besides tourists, race organizers and the volunteers, many of the local villagers also take the whole family out and camp on the grassland to play Bazi (“eat and leisure” in the regional language). Local people camp on the grass around the racing ground, bringing snacks, fruits and cooking utensils for a relaxing time while wait for the big days
Litang Horse Racing Festival include long distance, trekking, riding under the belly of the horse, standing upside down on top of the horse, shooting from horseback and other breath-taking feats! Besides horse racing, there are Tibetan operas, dancing, fashion shows, trade and other cultural events.
Litang, the High City of the World?
Litang County (4014m) has own its name as "High City of the World", for it is located in the high mountains of the Tibetan Plateau.
With a population about 70,000 people, Litang is a great place to find great scenery and exotic traditions. The elevation is so high that vegetables have to be trucked in so that food is expensive and boiling water is more difficult. For visitors to watch horse racing, it is good to arrive a few days earlier to let get used to the high altitude. And also, it is nice to come earlier to enjoy the “City of Tent” during the Horse Racing Festival.
Where is the 430 years old Litang Monastery?
When you are in Litang you should not miss the 430 years old Litang Monastery is on the north side of the town. Litang Monastery was built in 1580 in honor of the 3rd Dalai Lama (Sonam Gyatso 1543-1588). And the Litang Horse Racing Festival was a part of the functions of the monastery. Destroyed in 1956 by the red guards, most buildings of the Litang Monastery have only recently been rebuilt.
The world famous spectacular contemporary glaciers at low altitude?

Hailuogou National Glacier Forest Park, the worldwide fame contemporary glaciers lie in its spectacular at low altitude. Hailuogou is the most spectacular mountain glacier among regions of the same latitude, the most magnificent ice fall in China and the most intact ecological vegetation landscape in West Sichuan.

Dates and Prices

Late July to  early August


Day 1.Arrive Chengdu
Day 2.Chengdu –Kangding
Day 3.Kangding-Xinduqiao–Litang
Day 4.Litang
Day 5 Litang – Kangding
Day 6 Kangding –Hailuogou
Day 7 Hailuogou-Yanan-Chengdu
Day 8 Depart Chengdu

Day 1 .Arrive Chengdu
After a pickup from the Shuangliu International Airport in Chengdu, your group will have the opportunity to rest in preparation for the next day. You’ll have time to explore if you’d like.
Overnight: Chengdu.
Day 2.Chengdu –Kangding
After waking up, we will set out from Chengdu and take the express way to Ya’an, an important city on the ancient Horse-and-Tea Trade Road (nowadays the city is known for rain, fish and tea). After departing, we will head into the mountains, passing through the 4200-meter-long Erlang Shan tunnel. As we drive, the scenery, people and weather will gradually change. If time allows, we can make a short stop at the Luding Bridge. When we arrive in Kangding, we can begin exploring the city with a visit to the downtown area. This city serves as the capital of the Ganzi Tibetan autonomous region and is known for inspiring one of China’s most notable folk songs, “the Kangding love song”.
Overnight: Kanding (2560m)
Day 3. Kangding-Xinduqiao–Litang
Today’s journey will feature roughly 6 hours of driving. After getting over the magnificent Zheduo mountain pass, we will pass a place widely known as the “photographer’s paradise”, Xinduqiao. Here we can spot fields of barely, farmlands, tame horses and yaks. The natural setting is comprised of tall trees, winding brooks and snow-capped mountains in the distance. The roads we will take are part of the famous Chengdu-Lhasa Highway which passes through the mountains along the way to Lhasa.
Then we’ll pass over a series of high mountains (some above 4500m of altitude) which are absolutely scenic. As we travel, you’ll be able to spot nomadic horseman, yak herders and yak wool tents on the prairie.
The people living here are Kham Tibetan, a strong and distinctly colorful group of people. When we arrive at the town of Litang, we’ll visit the famous Changqing Chunke'er Monastery, one of the most important Yellow Sect monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism. Then our group will have a good rest at our hotel to acclimatize to the local elevation, since this town is averagely over 4000m above sea level (said to be one of the highest towns in the whole world).
Overnight: Litang 2~3 star level hotels available (but can be difficult to book during the festival, and the hotel rates can be 3-5 times higher than usual depending on the actual tourists flow)
Day 4.Litang
Driving time today: very flexible (car and driver will be available nearby). We’ll attend the Horse-racing Festival today. Let’s enjoy the breathtaking performances on the horsebacks, all day long singing and dancing, and also the laughing people dressed in their colorful traditional costumes (holiday and important occasion only). Hundreds or maybe thousands of tents will be set up on the horse-racing grassland, looking like mushrooms growing out in one night! We can also stroll around to explore the temporary small markets made by the nomads some of whom are coming hundreds of miles away!
Overnight: the same as the previous day
Day 5 Litang – Kangding
Driving time today: about 5.5 hours. We’ll join in the festival again in the morning and perhaps take more photos before taking our way back to Kangding. We will spend a couple of hours exploring this lively city. We can walk the vegetable market where local Tibetans trade their vegetables, fresh mushrooms piled by the side of the street waiting for people to buy, and Tibetan medicines collected from the mountains.
Overnight: Kangding
Day 6 Kangding –Hailuogou National Glacier Forest Park
This morning we will drive two hours to Hailuogou Valley, the worldwide fame contemporary glaciers lies in its spectacular at low altitude. Hailuogou is the most spectacular mountain glacier among regions of the same latitude, the most magnificent ice fall in China and the most intact ecological vegetation landscape in West Sichuan.
In the late afternoon you can pay a visit in the Moxi ancient town, the old town at the foot of mount Gongga. Moxi town is a settlement of Han, Yi, and Tibetan people, and the town itself dates back to before the Qing Dynasty.
Overnight: Hailuogou
Day 7 Hailuogou-Yanan-Chengdu
To begin today’s portion of the tour, we will drive about three hours to Yaan. We will visit the newest giant panda base located in Bifengxia. The Bifengxia panda base was originally established as a safeguard for the captive panda population, as there was great concern regarding an outbreak of disease or infection. Then we will drive 2.5 hours back to Chengdu.
Overnight: Chengdu
Day 8 Depart Chengdu
On the final day of this itinerary, our team will take you to the airport in a timely manner for your flight. This will conclude your tour with us.


Litang Horse RaciRacing Festival Map




Email us if you have some questions.



This is now our sixth time with Absolute Panda, and again, it was another great experience of seeing people and places that are unique to China, particularly the Tibetan Plateau, 

We revisited a few places, but most of the trip was to new areas. These included both national geoparks or national forest parks, such as Kanbula in Qinghai , the Litang Tibetan Horse Festival, and a Tibetan prayer book printing press. As has been the case, we had flexibility to make changes along the way, since we were a small group. And Philip, the owner of Absolute Panda went out of his way to accommodate our needs .

——Steve Z(San Rafael, California)

Date of experience: August 2019

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